I grew up on these books, but it's been years. It was surprisingly easy to sink back into the world once more
Simple graphics hide a deceptively deep story in this platform puzzler
It's time to take aim at some familiar shapes - but with some new twists in the gameplay
Some signs of new life in this yearly shooter are more than welcome
A new console and a new visual style - but the same great characters and stories
Friday, February 25, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
I couldn't think of any throwback Marvel vs. Capcom games I had floating around the house (though I recall similar beat 'em ups in the arcade once upon a time) - so I decided to look around for an X-Men or Marvel title, and found X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for my Super Nintendo and figured I'd toss it in for a bit. Now, while the other two games I talked about this weekend were fighter games, this one is a beat 'em up/platformer. It lacks the depth of field you find in Final Fight, Double Dragon or Streets of Rage, but you have to time your jumps and memorize attack patterns a bit more along the way.
Early on levels are designed around whichever mutant you are going to play (Psylocke, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast and Gambit). It's an interesting idea, since most games of this sort let you pick from a pool to get through a level - and that happens later in the game, but early on each X-Man is assigned a task in a different location, forcing you to use them all. This is a good and bad thing since you may prefer one character over the others, but it does add a bit more variety to the gameplay as well when you have someone like Wolverine who just tears through people using his claws while moving left to right, as opposed to someone like Beast who can cling to ceilings and attack enemies from above as well.
The story's a bit of a mess, which is often the case in these older comic games, but the sounds get the job done and the graphics actually look pretty good. I didn't spend a ton of time playing this one again - I honestly don't have the patience for memorizing platforming like I did years ago, but I got a grin out of my time running around beating people up along the way.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Graphics - 7:
The graphics were a blast back when this game first came out, and the remake has a few options like widescreen and some cleanup that help the game look better than the original, without touching the level of detail found in releases made currently. The colors are vibrant and characters are well-represented in their attack animations. The backgrounds look good and some of the special moves are still spectacular when they dominate your screen.
Sound & Music - 6:
It's all appropriate and while I don't have my old copy of the game on the Dreamcast (the disc got scratched beyond use years ago), I don't recall the sounds or music clearly enough to remember if what I found here is faithful to the original or not. What is here is solid for the kind of game it is. Again, it's a downloadable release, so Marvel vs. Capcom looks and sounds decent, especially given its price, but does not really go head-to-head well against newer released fighters like Super Street Fighter 4 or Tekken.
Gameplay - 8:
Everything handles just like I remember it. It took me a bit of practice to get back into the swing of things when I first bought it - it has to have been about a decade since I last played the game with any degree of regularity. Still, Capcom fighters have a sort of feel and pacing to them that allowed me to get my groove back pretty quickly. Everything is fast, over-the-top and rewards skill, though I do have to mention that some characters are a bit overpowered as well. Menus are pretty simple, but easy to navigate, though connecting online and setting up good sorting options to find matches that suit your preferences do not always seem to work quite as well as I'd like.
Intangibles - 9:
Then again, it has online! Seriously, this game's fun to beat up on the cpu with, and my son and I have gone more than a few rounds too, but online is where the real fun is at and if you can manage the lobby and get into the matches, there is a ton of value here. Not to mention that there are a ton of characters - 50+. Sure, there are quite a few who play similar to one another, but even so, that is a lot of characters to beat up on and to learn your way around.
Overall - 7.5:
There is a lot of fighting game to be had here. It's not quite as deep and satisfying in my opinion as the latest Tekken or Street Fighter games, but it's a quarter of the price. The pacing is a lot faster too - and it can be more frustrating for people who can't just pick up a game like this and keep up. My son is okay against the cpu, but not great and prefers to play against me. My daughters can't keep up at all, even on the easy modes. I have no problem with it and take it easy on all three when I play. The computer's a cakewalk but man - hopping online and finding people who can bust out moves as well - if not better (and there are a LOT of players out there better than me) is much more challenging - and rewarding.